Thousands flock to Green Build weekend at Felbrigg Hall, near Cromer

A free weekend event devoted to all things green is attracting the committed, the caring and the curious to a north Norfolk stately home.

Thousands are flocking to the annual Green Build in the grounds of the National Trust's Felbrigg Hall, near Cromer, which continues tomorrow.

Among a packed arena of commercial and community enterprises today, Saturday, were stands promoting solar panels, wind farms, living roofs, heat pumps, wood-burning stoves and insulation, plus handmade pottery and basketwork, and homemade cakes, pies and preserves.

The two-day event, which has been running for seven years, is bigger than ever with a record 66 exhibitors, talks and demonstrations on subjects as diverse as organic vegetable growing, and electric bikes, 14 farmers' market stalls and eight children's entertainers.

And by 2.15pm today there had already been about 3,000 visitors meaning that it is on course to break last year's weekend total of more than 7,000.

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'It's going brilliantly. We've had lovely, positive comments. There are so many more kids' activities and we've had some great talks from green home-owners,' said event organiser Jeanette Wilson, from North Norfolk District Council.

This year's Green Build is sponsored by Kier, the company which took over the district's waste-collection services in April, and children queued for the chance to sit in the driver's cab of the firm's large 'Dumpy' dustcart parked near the entrance.

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Among new exhibitors were Benjamin's Building Company, part of the Benjamin Foundation charity.

It aims to build affordable homes, with recycled and eco-friendly materials where possible, using a labour force of vulnerable young people who learn skills such as bricklaying and plastering which will help them into long-term careers.

Donna Grant, 42, who lives off Earlham Road, in Norwich, was another newcomer, selling an alternative to cling film for those who don't want to smother their food in throw-away plastic wrap.

Mrs Grant's washable and reusable polyurethane-coated polyester wraps, invented by Australian friend Rebecca Hurst, were proving popular with parents, hikers and office workers seeking a greener way to enjoy their packed lunches, she said.

While children went home from Green Build with an assortment of crafts created from recycled plastic bottles and paper, there was also a hat-trick of goody bags for adults who were able to collect three free bags of compost as they left the site.

Regular visitors to the event Terry and June Sutton, from Stalham, were there today with friends Julia and Bill Downie, from Catfield, plus four grandchildren aged eight to 12.

'It's good for children to learn. They need to see it all because they will be affected more than us,' said Mrs Sutton.

The couple had bought straw briquettes to try on their wood-burning stove.

Green Build continues tomorrow, from 10.30am to 4pm.

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